"Other games simulate wars. Checkmate comes from the Persian Shah-mat, kill the king. Chess dates from 6th or 7th century India, but it spread around the world and sometimes got changed and renamed—Shogi in Japan, Hsiang-ch'i in China. There is no queen piece in Japan because women had no official place in the shogunate. In China and Japan, when you take a piece it joins your side instead of being destroyed. The knight is the only universal piece; it can jump because it's on horseback. The rook represents artillery; difficult to pull, it can only go in straight lines. Pawns are soldiers. The bishop cuts diagonally through all levels of society. All war games developed from the patterns of chess.
"A third class of games are those of position and alignment. Ticktacktoe is one. They too reflect society. In 16th century Japan people who reached higher levels in these games got higher positions in the social order.
"Scrabble and crosswords are modern games because they reflect a love of language instead of symbols. We have one modern game in which public and private health services compete [Medigame], and another in which developers, civil servants, special-interest groups and public-spirited citizens battle over property [Eden Express]. Computers will add another dimension, one more complicated than anything to date. Using cable TV and computers, we may be able to play games crosstown on a snowy night. Teachers are using games. Businessmen once took coffee breaks. Now they take game breaks."
Avedon was just getting started. Want to meet him? The next move is yours.